6 things PR pros can learn from Vladimir Putin

The Russian president has had PR problems of his own, but his New York Times op-ed on Syria did a lot of things right.

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In calling for restraint in the use of military force in Syria, Putin suggests that the use of poison gas that killed thousands was actually perpetrated by Syrian rebels—an accusation that the White House immediately shot down. But Putin’s reasonable tone and elegant language make such a “false flag” attack almost credible.

It is in Putin’s final paragraph that the former KGB strongman really lets loose and shows his communications chops. In what seems a direct response to President Obama’s Tuesday address, he challenges the concept of American exceptionalism. Pushing back against Obama’s earlier reference to what makes our nation different, Putin warns that it is “extremely dangerous” to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional and reminds us that “we are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”

Astonishing, considering the source: A man whose government has taken a shellacking in recent months over a highly restrictive anti-gay law and for silencing critics thereof.

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